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Afghan Drug Business Moves Toward Tajikistan

Poppy fields like this one in southern Afghanistan have increased in areas near the Tajik border
Viktor Ivanov, the head of Russian's Federal Narcotics Control Service visited Islamabad March 27 to discuss combating the illegal drug trade with his Pakistani counterpart Syed Shakeel Hussain.

Hussain said recently cultivation of opium poppies in the northeastern areas of Afghanistan, along the border with Tajikistan, has risen by 50 percent and that the number of laboratories capable of processing opium into heroin in those Afghan regions has doubled.

Hussain said that meant the Afghan narco-mafia had targeted Russia and the Central Asian states bordering Afghanistan as the market for their drugs.

Ivanov handed over to Hussain a list of Central Asians suspected of involvement in narcotics trafficking.

Ivanov said the list had the names, addresses, phone numbers and other information on "15 citizens of Central Asian states."

Ivanov also said there are some 600 drug labs in Afghanistan's Badakhshan Province and that he and Hussain discussed a two year (2102-2014) plan for destroying drug laboratories there.

Ivanov's visit to Pakistan comes after he announced on March 23 some 60 kilograms of Afghan heroin was seized in recent operations in the Russian cities of St. Petersburg and Irkutsk.
Based on ITAR-TASS reporting